Nashville’s allure has long been rooted in country music, but it’s currently in the midst of a renaissance propelled by its rebranding as a hub for all genres and creatives. As one of the nation’s fastest-growing cities, Nashville balances past with present, glorifying its euphonious traditions at music venues and attractions, while also welcoming new businesses, restaurants, art, and experiences. All of these factors inform the Music City of today, a locale that pulsates with the spirit of the great artists of yesteryear and promises to captivate audiences for decades to come.
Nashville is composed of neighborhoods, all of which have something to offer in terms of sightseeing. Make your home base downtown, where accommodations are plentiful and the nightlife is booming. As with most outposts of this boutique chain, Hotel Indigo Nashville takes cues from its direct environment. Located in a former bank in Printer’s Alley, this hip hideaway boasts interiors influenced by the district’s printing legacy, as well as daily live music that’s also omnipresent in the surrounding streets.
A couple blocks away rests the city’s grand dame, The Hermitage Hotel. This five-star property opened in 1910 and quickly became a beacon for visiting politicians and celebrities. Its Beaux Arts decor is on display in its lobby decked in Tennessee marble and topped with a painted skylight. While its name derives from Andrew Jackson’s estate, management takes the definition of hermitage (a place of rest and seclusion) to heart by outfitting its 122 guest rooms with custom mattresses.
See + Do
Music—and its related industries—remains Nashville’s biggest draw. From the honky tonks of Broadway to the legends of Music Row, there’s lots of history and tunes to soak in. Begin at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum to get a sense of the evolution of the art form and the personalities behind it. The Hall of Fame also houses Hatch Show Print—a 140-year-old letterpress printing company that specializes in concert posters—and operates tours to Historic RCA Studio B. Visitors can pose at Elvis’ beloved Steinway piano, test the acoustics at the fabled sweet spot, and learn about the Nashville Sound forever engrained in the walls.
For those whose interests extend beyond music, Nashville doesn’t disappoint. Aesthetes will appreciate the Frist Art Museum, which stages rotating exhibitions in an Art Deco building that once functioned as a post office. Animal lovers should head to the Nashville Zoo, home to a new Sumatran tiger exhibit and a state-of-the-art veterinary hospital. Architecture and design fans will be wowed by the Belmont Mansion, the quirky, antebellum-era summer home of Adelicia Acklen.
The city’s diverse restaurants make for an ideal gastronomic getaway, whether you’re on the hunt for whole hog barbecue at Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint, the French-meets-Southern bistro fare of Liberty Common, or the dive bar digs, cheeseburgers, and fries at Dino’s. you can’t leave nashville without sampling hot chicken, a searingly spicy delicacy born of one cook’s desire to get back at her cheating lover. Hattie B’s offers heat levels up to the atomic “shut the cluck up.”
Perhaps the best thing about dining in Nashville is the seamless blend of high and low. for example, The Grilled Cheeserie crafts the classic comfort food with Tennessee-sourced products. This Hillsboro Village hot spot prioritizes creativity, as seen in combos like the pimento mac and cheese grilled cheese. Over in Germantown, 5th & Taylor also puts a refined spin on family favorites. Bookend your meal with sausage-cheddar biscuits with pepper jam and house-made ice cream in flavors such as turmeric and lemongrass.
The Grand Ole Opry is an icon, and for good reason. This radio show has morphed into a shindig of epic proportions, one that hosts performers who represent every chapter in the story of country music. Attend a live concert in the Opry’s 4,400-seat hall or get a behind-the-scenes look at how it all comes together with daytime and post-show tours.
A byproduct of the city’s economic growth has been an outcropping of ethical commerce. Clothing and accessories brand Able addresses generational poverty by creating sustainable job opportunities for women in Nashville and countries such as Ethiopia and Mexico. Similarly, bath, body, and home goods maker Thistle Farms provides survivors of trafficking, prostitution, and addiction with transitional housing and reliable work in social enterprises.